Little did I know that my humble writing could grant me a trip out of Malaysia at the tender age of 16 as well.
I participated in the American Youth Foundation essay writing competition which was organized by AYF (of course) and a few other companies which was meant for youths aged between 16-20. Daddy's company was one of the participating company which will open this competition to their employee's children and will select only 2 from each site to represent their company.
Daddy was rather enthusiastic and he actually brought back the forms and told me about the topic; which was to write about any current global issue.
Well, I have always been keen to write on documentary and factual compositions and thus, I just tried my luck and it wasn't long before I was told that I was selected by the company.
I actually won my way against the other older contestants and was the youngest participant selected to attend this International Leadership Camp in US!!!
YAHOOO!!! It was almost like a dream come true and frankly, I could never believe it myself:D
Nevertheless, I was very excited as this was my FIRST trip away from home and also, OUT of the country!
I still remembered the excitement as I went shopping and also anticipating the letter from AYF. Oh, there was also the visa and passport application and the packing!!
Yeah...gosh, the packing and the shopping....wow, I remembered buying socks, t-shirts, jeans, etc to gear myself up for this trip.
There were 2 camps available; initially I was supposed to travel together with the other winner who chose the Michigan camp in July while I preferred the Merrowvista camp in New Hampshire in June. We couldn't change either as we were having our exams during those months we couldn't make it. In the end, we went to separate camps.
We were also arranged for 2-weeks homestay programme with a selected family in US; and I was arranged to stay with this family in St Louis, US but unfortunately, I couldn't make it as I couldn't book the flight to arrive that time and there were lots of difficulties. I ended up having to forego the homestay programme and proceeded with a short stay in an arranged accommodation near the camp and to be taken to the camp on the day itself.
I flew from KLIA airport on an early morning flight (Northwest Airlines) which made a transit at the Osaka airport in Japan before proceeding on a 20 hours + flight to Detroit International Airport in US. From Detroit, it was domestic flight in a small aircraft to the small town of Manchester in New Hampshire state (located up north and near to the Canadian border).
I still remembered the cool air during that June period; as it was towards the end of spring and beginning of summer and the weather was just so chilly and relaxing then:)
I was arranged to stay in this nice lakeside motel in New Hampshire
The Lake Shore Motels and Cottages proved to be one of the most unforgettable memories in my life.
I was greeted by a pair of very nice elderly couple who ran the place; Leo and Pearl Poirier who took care of me with such great hospitality that I almost didn't want to leave the place on the day I left for camp.
The motel room was definitely much bigger than our normal hotel rooms in Malaysia and was really comfortable!! It definitely scrapped the idea of a stuffy and desolated motel room space off my mind and gave me a new impression of motels:)
Besides motel rooms, the owner also lets out cottages for families to spend their vacation by the lake.
They were so thoughtful to even provide the barbeque facilities with the pitch set up right on the lawn near to the motel rooms and cottages area.
A short walk and you will be welcomed by the breathtaking view of the huge lake that awaits at the end of the rows of motels and cottages.
The weather and the cool lakewater was just so perfect:)
The big Lake Winniepesaukee behind me...
So Huge, it was almost like an ocean and they only call it a lake...
Hmmm...in Malaysia, our Tasik are definitely dwarfed by this:)
I always loved yachts and ships!!
This is really my dream came true!!:D
The owners' own living area
The people here were just so friendly, a stroll down the streets and you are greeted with Hellos and smiles everywhere!!:D
The nearby market
This was the neighbourhood church
Such beautiful memories which still brings smiles and makes my heart warm when I look at all the photos:)